Aug. 13, 2002 — Contrary to popular stereotypes, `GenXers’ — those 52-million Americans born between 1967 and 1981 — are generally financially astute and regard themselves as well-prepared to weather and even benefit from the current financial downturn, according to a survey released by the MainStay division of New York Life Investment Management.

The survey reveals that GenXers began saving early, and consequently 69% expect their standard of living in retirement to be greater than their parents’. In the event of a job loss, GenXers estimate that they could financially support their families for an average of 10 months. Only 38% of those surveyed believe another dramatic downturn in the economy would have a meaningful effect on their lifestyle.

On average, said the report, the GenXers surveyed had a net worth of $117,000.

The majority of GenXers surveyed describe their financial situation as very or somewhat secure. More than half believe that they are more knowledgeable about investing than their parents. Nearly two-thirds are confident that their family would be taken care of financially if they or their spouse were to die or become disabled. Fully 70% have non-retirement assets invested in financial products.

Among the survey’s other key findings was that the majority of GenX wealth comes from their salary as opposed to stock options or inheritance. Fully 60% of the GenXers surveyed said they acquired their net worth by working, up from 43% in a similar survey conducted in 2001. The average annual household income of the survey respondents was $109,700.

In addition, 22% of the GenXers surveyed described their investment style as “conservative,” up from 11% in 2001. Only 20% classified themselves as “aggressive” investors, down from 36% in the 2001 survey.